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Texas Workforce Commission programs help East Texas parents with child care during job search

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 6:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 8:30 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Workforce Commission reports 759,000 Texans were out of work in August of 2021. That statistic continues to trend better across East Texas, but more and more employers are still struggling to hire.

Workforce Solutions East Texas area manager at the Tyler location, Steven Lynch, says there’s currently a drastic uptick in job postings. Lynch says more and more new employers are looking to fill positions, and there are currently a lot of good-paying jobs, with benefits.

Unfortunately, some people aren’t going back to work and they’re blaming child care costs as the culprit.

Child care services director Rhonda McGrath says Workforce Solutions has the solution by providing child care for those seeking employment as part of a subsidized childcare program to help low-wage workers.

The initial job search program gives qualifying individuals 90 days of child care while they look for a job. McGrath says If they become employed during this period, they can apply to receive a full 12 months of child care, inclusive of the initial three months.

Applicants must submit documentation to ensure that they meet the requirements for the at-risk/low-income program.

A new service industry recovery program is helping even more by targeting those who work in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, food services, and retail. If applicants meet the criteria they can get care for up to a year.

McGrath says If an individual is employed in any of these specific industries and is able to provide proof of citizenship of the children needing care and attest to working 25-50 hours a week, then they should be eligible for services.

McGrath says, “All they have to do is to have a few documents, turn those in, and we’re able to fast track those kids into care.”

She says this past year they’ve seen the highest enrollment ever, with more than 4000 kids in the program. With these new initiatives, they hope to help over 2000 more children while mom and dad head back to work.

The program is paid for with COVID-19 relief federal dollars.

There’s also the at-risk/low-income program. It allows parents who are working to make up to $6,049 monthly and still qualify for services. More than 200 child care facilities in East Texas take part.

Workforce Solutions East Texas covers 14 East Texas counties.

They are Anderson, Camp, Cherokee, Gregg, Henderson, Marion, Panola, Rains, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties. However, if a potential customer lives in Jacksonville but works in Nacogdoches they can contract with a daycare provider to provide care for their children.

For more information, individuals can call 1-800-676-8283 or go online at childcare.easttexasworkforce.org.

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